March Edition 2012 •Texas first ever conference on drug policy •Dallas stands strong against war on Iran •Balloon release commemorating children of war •Ralph Nader pressures civic engagement •Celebrating African-American history: women
Celebrate Dallas Peace Center's 30th Anniversary as an interfaith, inclusive, progressive, peace and justice organization that has provided uncompromising work for peace through justice in North Texas and around the world. Your financial support is essential! Your outreach to others is vital! To share in the growth and effectiveness of the Dallas Peace Center, make your monthly sustaining pledge of $30 to ensure another 30 years of peace and justice work. Become a sustaining member http://dallaspeacecenter.org/suppor-dpc/
TODAY! Dallas Peace Center • 5910 Cedar Springs Rd. Dallas, TX 75235-6806 • (214) 823-7793 email@example.com
RÉDA March 2012
TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.Texas Conference On Drug Policy 2.Peace Begins With Me 3.Rabbi Micheal Lerner Comes to Dallas 4.Gaza Balloon Release 5.City Square Engagement Book club 6.MLFA Ralph Nader 7.Interfaith Luncheon 8.Statement on Syria 9.Close Down Guantanamo 10.Celebrating African-American Month: Extraordinary Women 11.Dallas Steps Up: Peace With Iran DALLAS PEACE CENTER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KELLI OBAZEE MANAGING EDITOR Adrian Sierra EDITOR Patty Battes DPC PHOTOGRAPHER WALID AJAJ 2012 BOARD MEMBERS PRESIDENT Rev. RYAN KOCH VICE PRESIDENT/TREASURER John Fullinwider SECRETARY Zara Tariq aftab siddiqui rev. l. charles stovall Eric Reece Sam Nance Saddyna Belmashkan Rev. Diane Baker Mavis belisle sara mokuria Len Ellis Dr. Qaisar Abbas
One Makes A Difference DPC Peace Education Program
The DPC's One Makes a Difference curriculum provides: a strong intellectual and ethical foundation that encourages academic excellence, enhance self-esteem, increase community understanding, civic engagement and inspires future global leaders. The curriculum is inspired by the simple and profound belief that ONE MAKES A DIFFERENCE. The goal of the program is to encourage participants to piece together their personal stories and histories in a way that clarifies their understanding of interconnectedness and peace. When young people have the opportunity to share their knowledge in a group, they can teach each other a lot. Each person in the group is a teacher, learner, and listener creating new knowledge and relationships of trust. The twenty 3-hour sessions included in the One Makes A Difference program incorporate heart/mind coherence, self-awareness, conflict resolution, non-violent communication and civic engagement. Join us as we launch a program that empowers our youth to charter their destiny for success. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-823-7793
Texas sees its first ever conference on drug policy: Moving forward with Dallas Drug policy reform activists converged last week in Dallas, Texas for three days of speakers, panels and discussions at the Texas Conference on Drug Policy hosted by Mothers Against Teen Violence. DFW NORML was honored to attend this important and groundbreaking event. Mothers Against Teen Violence is a nonprofit group based out of Dallas that is dedicated to drug law reform. Joy Strickland (pictured above) started MATV after her son, a Morehouse College student, died tragically as an innocent victim of gang violence. Since then Ms. Strickland has worked tirelessly to bring to light the failures of the drug war and its inevitable connections to gang violence and organized crime.
RĂ‰DA March 2012
addicts." Dr. Mate's work focuses on the communal aspects of our society and the responsibility we all have to work together for the greater good. MATV has been instrumental in facilitating the discussion of drug abuse as a public health issue and in pointing out the dangerous failures of prohibition. It makes sense for DFW NORML to be aligned with such progressive groups as MATV as we share the same goals of keeping drugs out of the hands of children and preventing criminals and gangs from profiting off of prohibition. DFW NORML is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the failures of prohibition and lobbying legislators for the decriminalization of marijuana. We frequently work with other drug law reform groups for the advancement of a progressive and financially responsible agenda regarding drug law reform. You can help legalize marijuana by joining DFW NORML today. http://www.dfwnorml.org/texas-conference-drugpolicy-1316.html
Conference speakers included Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Executive Director Neill Franklin, Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann, and DFW NORML's very own Larry Talley. The conference culminated with MATV's 12th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. awards luncheon. Texas state representative Jerry Madden was honored with the Outstanding Legislator Award for his efforts to promote rehabilitation over incarceration and mental health and drug treatment programs for drug addicts. Keynote speaker Dr. Gabor Mate received the Humanitarian Award for his extensive work on addiction and mental health. "The war on drugs is not a war on drugs," Dr. Mate said. "It is a war on drug
RÉDA March 2012
Peace Begins With Me! By Leonard Ellis DPC Board Member A while back at a Department of Peace Regional Conference, Marianne Williamson gave the keynote speech, focusing on nonviolence. After the presentation, she opened the floor for questions. One woman described how when she watches TV news and sees certain politicians, she becomes very agitated and angry, and usually has to turn off the program. Turning off the program is not acceptable to her because she wants to know what is going on in the world. Ms. Williamson suggested to her that she has two choices: 1) turn off the TV, which is basically an avoidance technique, or 2) acknowledge who the politician is and “love him anyway.” She also used the term ”enemy image,” and we'll get back to that in a bit. I can certainly relate to what this woman was describing, because in that same situation, I too, have become very agitated, aggravated, and ready to do almost anything to prove the person wrong. Now let me ask you, when I am agitated, annoyed, or angry, am I at peace? Am I doing my part to bring peace to the world? And is the politician any the wiser that I and perhaps 50 million other people are upset or angry? Of course not! But ”love him anyway?” How the heck does that work; I mean, how can I ”love him anyway?”
Well, first and foremost, that politician is a human being, just like me. He or she is doing the best he or she knows how to do. So, I can recognize that and connect with the politician’s humanity. Marshall Rosenberg, creator of Nonviolent Communications (NVC) says that to connect with "those other persons" we need to liberate ourselves from the enemy images we have of them, the thinking that there is something wrong with the other person. Rosenberg also acknowledges that it is not easy. For me, all I have to do is look at my judgments of other people and situations. That, my friends, is how I create this enemy image, and perhaps you can relate in this way, too. St. Francis of Assisi put it this way: Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. I'm assuming we are all on a path to become Instruments of Peace. If so, one of the early steps on that path is asking for the courage to empty ourselves of every state of mind that creates conflict - resentment, anger, jealousy, greed, and self-righteousness. Therefore my first priority is to reform myself. How else can I expect other people to do likewise? When I see someone giving all he or she has to make compassion and love a reality, my heart stirs me to follow the example. Do I need a bumper sticker that says, “You are following an Instrument of Peace?” Of course not! My everyday actions must, and will, speak for themselves. Peace begins with ME!
A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East Roger Kallenberg Spring Lecture presented by The Dallas Peace Center
RÉDA March 2012
The Dallas Peace Center's 8th annual lecture event features best-selling author Michael Lerner, PhD, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in San Francisco. Rabbi Lerner is the editor of Tikkun magazine, one of the most respected intellectual/cultural magazines in the Jewish world. Does God speak as the force of oppressive power and domination or as the force of healing, transformation, love, and generosity? Building on issues raised by Occupy Wall Street, with a vision for healing Occupied Palestine, Rabbi Lerner challenges us to make love, caring, and generosity the “new bottom line” in our personal, civic, and political lives. Lerner argues that real security is best achieved through an ethos of caring and generosity toward "the other" and presents a Global Marshall Plan whose first location would be the Middle East.
Rabbi Michael Lerner is the editor of TIKKUN magazine, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley and San Francisco, CA, and the author of twelve books, including most recently Embracing/ Israel Palestine www.tikkun.org
7pm, Wednesday, March 14: Presentation on spiritually progressive activism. Unity of Arlington. 3525 South Bowen Rd, Arlington, TX. Contact Kelli Obazee at email@example.com.
Thursday, March 15
6:00 - 7:00 PM Fellowship and Food 7:00 - 8:30 PM Program and Lecture Discounted ticket price until March 15 - $35 Unity of Dallas Discount for 10 or more until March 15 - $285.00 6525 Forest Ln Ticket Price at the Door $40 Dallas, TX 75230
"Embracing Israel/Palestine is a must-read for those who care about peace in the Middle East. It is provocative, radical, persuasive, and, if given the attention it deserves, could make a major contribution to reconciliation. Please read this book! "
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu
To register visit our website or call www.dallaspeacecenter.org (214) 823-7793
RÉDA March 2012
Marking the third anniversary of the Gaza Massacre (Operation Cast Lead); student activist, community groups and leaders put together a balloon release on Saturday, January 21, 2012 in honor of the innocent Palestinian and Israeli children who lost their lives the devastating massacre. On the third anniversary of this dreadful attack, they urged an international civil society to stand in solidarity with the loved ones of the young victims to an unjust war. Fourhundred (400) balloons, each rising with the name of one Palestinian and/or Israeli child was launched with the intention of sprouting the hopes of peace for generations to come. The Holy Land by Adam Ibrahim Aly There’s a land before I knew nothing about Not it’s mournful cries or despair stricken shouts Of the people of who live there, or so we say Cause they live in turmoil day by day They did nothing wrong, they did nothing bad They endure for so long, they lose all they have Victims of inhumanity so manifest Now humanity’s definition is put to test This is the land of Palestine Whose freedom still stands on the line Let’s hope that as these balloons are released The injustice will too, and forever cease
by Aceil Rashid "Salam, Peace, and Shalom to all: For those of you who don’t know, my name is Aceil Rashid, one of the coorganizers of this event. I want to take a second to thank all of the organizers for their dedication in putting this together. Many hours to do this for the Children, after all that is why we are all here today: We’re standing for the Palestinian Children, All oppressed children for that matter. While I am of Palestinian Decent, and proudly so, I cannot even begin to fathom the hardships endured by the Palestinians on a day to day basis. I have experienced not even an ounce of their tribulations, nor a grain of their troubles. I am them. But I have not earned that right merely because their experiences have earned them the title of what it means to be “Palestinian”. So we stand in Solidarity on THIS side of the conflict, as observers, mere spectators, even during the Operation known as Cast lead. The most deliberate offense on the people of Gaza seen and heard around the world. We can never forget the images of bomb after bomb being dropped on civilians, schools, hospitals and homes. Factories, warehouses, and infrastructure burned to ashes. What was left after the 3 week assault was rubble, over 1400 dead and many thousands more injured. Helpless. To make do with what little resources were readily available. And the world spoke out against these actions. Eruptions of outrage and condemnation of the Israeli offence, but no official measure at the international level was taken to reprimand Israel for it’s inhumane, immoral, and deliberate attack on the people of Gaza. It was and will always be known as a massacre. Now as spectators, we have a very special human duty. A duty to our Brothers and Sisters, our children. Media, society et. all work to desensitize us. Make us feel far from the troubles of others. Using the “Us” vs. “them” mentality they have effectively made the world immune to the massacres of “other” people. Desensitized to human death, they call it “civilian casualties” killed by “friendly fire”.
RÉDA March 2012
Raising Hope and Spirits
And that’s it. That is what we are told to understand and move on. But how can any fire be friendly? How can any loss of life be deemed a victory? Today, we ask you to sensitize yourself. “Stay Human”. Don’t become numb to the cruelties of this world… as many as there are, we also ask you to have hope, because without hope, dreams would never become a reality and people would never be free. We are not angry, because if we are then we have been defeated. Attaining Peace is never hurtful, it is not violent, nor is it forceful. We must exemplify this to the world, if we are to change the hearts and minds of the people. But, We’re ADAMENT, DETERMINED, And Strong willed. I want you all to take a moment and look at the names on the tags, and then think about why YOU are here. Each tag represents a Human heart that once existed. It used to beat, love, and hurt just like any one of us. Surely you know someone who shares the same name as the children who lost their lives at the brutal hands of oppression. Or perhaps someone of equal age…. Imagine loosing them. Imagine losing them in multitude. Whole families. Sibling after sibling killed under the guise of “self defense”. You and I both know what really happened. We know the truth so much that it hurts. But as spectators we have, again, our duty as humans. To speak out against oppression, to stand for justice even if it were JUST one drop of Blood because that one drop of blood is worth oceans! It is our moral duty as human beings to not be dehumanized, and to help those who have already undergone the ultimate hardening of their heart. Somewhere in them is a conscience that doesn’t let them sleep. And while we cannot help those who are unwilling to help themselves, remember who, why, and what we stand for. It may be that We won’t change the tide, but we can at least strengthen our stake by morally grounding ourselves to withstand its pull. Take action, educate others and welcome them to join the cause. The Human cause. If you don’t know where to start here would be perfect. Ask any of your fellow activists where you would best help with your unique abilities. We all owe it to those fighting the real fight. We owe it to the Children, Palestinian, Syrian, and all those oppressed around the globe. And just like that our Children become our phoenix. They rise and they raise our spirits in the process. Set them Free."
RÉDA March 2012
Dallas’ CitySquare launches Urban Engagement Book Club CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries) exists to fight the root causes of poverty by partnering with those in need. Working together as a community, we feed the hungry, heal the sick, house the homeless and renew hope in the heart of our city. CitySquare recently launched an Urban Engagement book club at two Dallas churches. Join Us for March’s Books: When March 1 - "Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About It" by Don Peck (Highland Park United Methodist Church) March 15 - "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich (First United Methodist Church Dallas-Downtown)
Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full anguish of desegregation—in Little Rock and throughout the South—and an epic moment in the civil rights movement. In this gripping book, David Margolick tells the remarkable story of two separate lives unexpectedly braided together. He explores how the haunting picture of Elizabeth and Hazel came to be taken, its significance in the wider world, and why, for the next half-century, neither woman has ever escaped from its long shadow. He recounts Elizabeth’s struggle to overcome the trauma of her hate-filled school experience, and Hazel’s long efforts to atone for a fateful, horrible mistake. The book follows the painful journey of the two as they progress from apology to forgiveness to reconciliation and, amazingly, to friendship. This friendship foundered, then collapsed—perhaps inevitably—over the same fissures and misunderstandings that continue to permeate American race relations more than half a century after the unforgettable photograph at Little Rock. And yet, as Margolick explains, a bond between Elizabeth and Hazel, silent but complex, endures.
About the Book Club What kind of book club is the Urban Engagement Book Club? A different kind of book club! You don’t have to read the book -- Randy Mayeux will present the key content of the selected book each month, with a comprehensive handout of key quotes and key ideas from the book. Then, in conversation with a diverse group of fellow participants, we discuss the implications of the book out of our shared concern for social justice. It is a wonderful, challenging session that always puts us back in touch with the struggles of real people in an increasingly difficult time. The names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little
"The iconic image of Elizabeth and Hazel at age fifteen showed us the terrible burden that nine young Americans had to shoulder to claim our nation's promise of equal opportunity. The pain it caused was deeply personal. David Margolick now tells us the amazing story of how Elizabeth and Hazel, as adults, struggled to find each other across the racial divide and in so doing, end their pain and find a measure of peace. We all need to know about Elizabeth and Hazel."—President Bill Clinton Join us for this provocative, somewhat alarming, and ultimately hopeful session of the Urban Engagement Book Club. And, please, invite your friends to join in the conversation
RĂ‰DA March 2012
"Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903" Thursday, February 2, 2012 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Highland Park United Methodist Church 3300 Mockingbird Lane Room 120 Dallas, TX 75205 Agenda 12:00-12:15 -- Lunch 12:15-12:45 -- Book Synopsis presented by Randy Mayeux 12:45-1:30 -- Community Conversation, followed by drawing for the next monthâ€™s book Lunch Fees Option 1 - Bring Your Own Lunch FREE Complimentary Option 2 - Buy Lunch for $5.00 at the Door About the Book Club This is a potent and original examination of how the Supreme Court subverted justice and empowered the Jim Crow era. In the following years following the Civil War, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery; the 14th conferred citizenship and equal protection under the law to white and black; and the 15th gave black American males the right to vote. In 1875, the most comprehensive civil rights legislation in the nation's history granted all Americans "the full and equal enjoyment" of public accommodations. Just eight years later, the Supreme Court, by an 8-1 vote, overturned the Civil Rights Act as unconstitutional and, in the process, disemboweled the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment. Using court records and accounts of the period, Lawrence Goldstone chronicles how "by the dawn of the 20th century the U.S. had become the nation of Jim Crow laws, quasi-slavery, and precisely the same twotiered system of justice that had existed in the slave era."
You do not want to miss this discussion, as we explore the impact of poverty on education. Larry James, CitySquare's President & CEO, will lead the panel which includes our own Rev. Gerald Britt, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Susan Hoff of United Way Metropolitan Dallas, Todd Williams of Commit! and Clint McDonnough of EducateDallas.
Join us for this provocative, somewhat alarming, and ultimately hopeful session of the Urban Engagement Book Club. And, please, invite your friends to join in the conversation
Early Bird Special! Buy tickets before March 16th and receive a $10 discount on individual tickets- regularly priced at $55. Visit the Tickets Page and select "Enter Promotional Code" at the bottom. Enter earlybird as the code and the new discounted price will then appear in the menu.
RÉDA March 2012
Ralph Nader Speaks on Moral Courage By REDA staff Ralph Nader was the guest speaker at the Muslim Legal Fund of America’s Annual Gala on February 11, 2012. Nader addressed a broad range of issues including politics, Palestine, peace, the environment, and courage. jjj
Ralph Nader became well-known when his book, Unsafe at Any Speed, was published in 1965. The book took on the automotive industry, calling the Corvair, a General Motors car, an unsafe vehicle. As Nader became more and more well-known, many young people eagerly joined in his activities. This group of young activists became known as “Nader’s Raiders.” A graduate of Princeton and Harvard, Nader was born in Connecticut. His parents were immigrants from Lebanon. Nader has been a presidential candidate five times. He has run as a write-in candidate and as a candidate for the Green Party. During his speech in Dallas, Nader called moral courage the highest expression of humanity, and emphasized that it is much rarer than military courage. “Moral courage requires a much greater level of stamina,” he said. Nader encouraged each person to take a stand for what is right at every opportunity, and to “speak truth to power.” In his remarks about Palestine, Nader noted that “Palestine has no tanks, no army, and no warships.” Among the other topics he discussed were the environment, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the September 11 attacks of 2001, and the current political situation in our country, Europe, and the Middle East. Regarding the upcoming presidential election, he quipped, “The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference.” Two of the most memorable lines of Nader’s speech were, “Want for your neighbors what you want for yourself,” and “When you defend justice, you defend life.” After his talk, several of Nader’s books were available for purchase and he happily autographed them for attendees, speaking one-on-one with individuals and answering their questions.
By the REDA staff The beautiful Interfaith Peace Chapel, part of the Cathedral of Hope campus near Love Field, was the setting for the Interfaith Prayer Luncheon on January 24, 2012. The chapel’s warping walls were constructed without right angles or parallel lines, and soar to a height of forty-five feet before bending back onto themselves. So the chapel was the perfect backdrop for the talk given by guest speaker, Dr. Robert A. Hunt. Dr. Hunt spoke about opposing sides of a conflict that generally are not brought together in classical forums where discussions center on personal viewpoints. He suggested that conflict and divisiveness can be shifted toward cooperation when individuals tell the stories of their lives through narrative. By sharing experiences, people can identify common threads where their stories overlap and are interrelated. Dr. Hunt gave the example of a Baptist and a Muslim finding commonality in abstinence of alcohol and/or belief in school prayer. Dr. Hunt is Director of Global Theological Education at the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He teaches courses in World Religions, Interreligious Dialogue, and Mission.
RÉDA March 2012
Interfaith prayer luncheon focuses on shared experience in sacred space
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson of Cathedral of Hope, United Christian Church, and Interfaith Peace Chapel, hosted this event. She welcomed a group of forty to fifty community leaders in ministry, peacemaking, education, fine arts, spiritual growth, and understanding of the power of individuals to make change. Dr. Nia MacKay, Peacemakers Incorporated, gave the opening prayer, and singer/songwriter, Gary Lynn Floyd, performed “One Heart,” a fitting choice for this message and location. Jeremy Bershears and Brian Parman, along with church volunteers, prepared the elegant lunch buffet. Brian Parman, Director of Interfaith Peace Chapel, provided information about the chapel’s current activities, and the dream and vision of the chapel as a symbol of faith and commitment to peace and cooperation. Parman said that the chapel also is used for conferences, seminars, weddings, and special events.
RÉDA March 2012
DOJ rejects Texas’ voter ID law by Micheal Lee This morning, the Justice Department notified the State of Texas in a letter that DOJ would not be granting preclearance to the state’s new photo voter ID law (SB 14), finding that the state had not met its burden of showing that the law did not have a disparate effect on minority voters. In its letter, DOJ noted that “according to the state’s own data, a registered Hispanic voter is 46.5 percent, and potentially 120 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic voter to lack … [the required] identification” and that “[e]ven using the data most favorable to the state … the disparity was statistically important.” The letter also said that the state had “provided no data on whether African-American or Asian registered voters also are disproportionately affected by S.B. 14.” Justice Department officials also rejected Texas’ voter ID option as insufficient: An applicant for an election identification certificate will be required to provide two pieces of secondary identification, or one piece of secondary identification and two supporting documents. If a voter does not possess any of these documents, the least expensive option will be to spend $22 on a copy of the voter’s birth certificate. There is a statistically significant correlation between the Hispanic population percentage of a county and the percentage of a county’s population that lives below the poverty line. The legislature tabled amendments that would have prohibited state agencies from charging for any underlying documents needed to obtain an acceptable form of photographic identification. As noted above, an applicant for an election identification certificate will have to travel to a driver’s license office. This raises three discrete issues. First, according to the most recent American Community Survey three-year estimates, 7.3 percent of Hispanic or Latino households do not have an available vehicle, as compared with only 3.8 percent of non-Hispanic white households that lack an available vehicle. Statistically significant
correlations exist between the Hispanic voting-age population percentage of a county, and the percentage of occupied housing units without a vehicle. Second, in 81 of the state’s 254 counties, there are no operational driver’s license offices. The disparity in the rates between Hispanics and non-Hispanics with regard to the possession of either a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by DPS is particularly stark in counties without driver’s license offices. According to the September 2011 data, 10.0 percent of Hispanics in counties without driver’s license offices do not have either form of identification, compared to 5.5 percent of nonHispanics. According to the January 2012 data, that comparison is 14.6 percent of Hispanics in counties without driver’s license offices, as compared to 8.8 percent of non-Hispanics. During the legislative hearings, one senator stated that some voters in his district could have to travel up to 176 miles roundtrip in order to reach a driver’s license office. The legislature tabled amendments that would have, for example, provided reimbursement to voters who live below the poverty line for travel expenses incurred in applying for the requisite identification. The third and final point is the limited hours that such offices are open. Only 49 of the 221 currently open driver’s license offices across the state have extended hours. Even Senator Troy Fraser, the primary author of this legislation in the Senate, acknowledged during the legislative hearing that, “You gotta work to make sure that [DPS offices] are open.” Despite the apparent recognition of the situation, the legislature tabled an amendment that would have required driver’s license offices to be open until 7:00 p.m. or later on at least one weekday and during four or more hours on at least two Saturdays each month. With the rejection, it now appears that the matter will go before a three-judge panel in Washington. That panel holds a status conference on Wednesday to discuss how to proceed with the case. State Rep. Marc Veasey and other minority voters also have asked to intervene in the case. DOJ’s letter can be found here.
The Crisis in Syria: Dallas Peace Center Position Statement The Dallas Peace Center condemns in the strongest terms the atrocities being committed by the Syrian government against its civilian population. According to media reports more than 5,000 civilians have been killed so far and 14,000 have been detained. Such actions might constitute war crimes and indeed crimes against humanity. We demand the Syrian government immediately cease killing civilians and stop the shelling of residential areas in Homs, Dara'a, Hama, Baniyas and suburbs of Damascus.
RÉDA March 2012
The Dallas Peace Center unequivocally denounces calls by American political leaders to further militarize an already dire situation. The United States and its allies must refrain from injecting heavy arms and ammunition into the country. We wholeheartedly support the courage and respect the wishes of many Syrians who are mounting nonviolent protests. When nonviolent protest turns violent because of "outside forces" it dishonors those who have gone before. The danger of Syria erupting into an all out civil war, similar to what a horrified world witnessed in Iraq just a few years ago, is too painful to imagine. As in Iraq, many ethnic, sectarian and religious fault lines exist in Syrian society whose collapse could de-stabilize the country and possibly the entire region. One of the neighboring states most likely to be drawn into the conflict is Lebanon, where skirmishes between pro and anti Syrian supporters have already broken out. The Syrian population is a mosaic of Kurds, Christians, Druze, Alawite Shias and Sunnis. Civil and human rights of all Syrians must be respected. We hope that the Arab League and regional powers such as Turkey, the United States and the European Union will actively seek a negotiated rather than a military solution to the crisis. We are hopeful that violence will cease in Syria and the noble aspirations of its people will usher in an era of peace and prosperity. Individual statement endorsers: Trish Major- Dallas activist Hadi Jawad- Activist, Dallas Valley Reed- Activist, Dallas Jan Sanders – Activist, Dallas Gloria Levario -Activist, Dallas Tunde Obazee- Activist, Dallas Leslie Harris- Code Pink DFW Hind Jarrah – Community activist Lon Burnam- Texas State Representative Joyce Hall-Member- Pax Christi Dallas Rev. Bill Matthews United Methodist ,Church & Society volunteer Dr Lloyd Dumas- Professor of Political Economy, UT Dallas Dr Rick Halperin – Amnesty International, Dallas Dr Alan Northcutt- Waco Friends of Peace, Waco, Texas Rev Dr Bill McElvaney- Professor Emeritus, Perkins School of Theology Rev Holsey Hickman- Ex-Officio, Dallas Peace Center Bill Maxwell- Member Middle East Peace Committee, Dallas Peace Center Aftab Siddiqui- Chair-Middle east Peace Committee, Dallas Peace Center Mavis Belisle- Member of the Board, Dallas Peace Center Rev. Ryan Koch- President of Board, Dallas Peace Center Kelli Obazee- Executive Director, Dallas Peace Center # end #
RÉDA March 2012
10 Years too many, National day of action against Guantanamo by evenhand • January 14, 2012 • News By Rhonda Varsane Lead by Code Pink’s Leslie Harris, Occupy Dallas, Code Pink, members of The Dallas Peace Center and others gathered at the Dallas Dart Railway station on Mockingbird lane at 3 PM central time on January 12th for the tenth anniversaryof the first prisoners brought to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. “A location [Guantanamo Bay was] handpicked by the Bush administration so it could detain and interrogate terror suspects far from the prying eyes of the law,” (The Nation magazine). Camp X-Ray was a temporary detention facility a detention camp of Joint Task Force Guantanamo on the U.S. Naval Base. The first twenty detainees arrived at Guantanamo on January 11, 2002 The orange jump suits with each person hooded in black was a loud visual statement of prisoners whose sense of sight and balance were stripped. Catching the eyes of school children they ask what is happening as the ‘prisoners’ stand waiting for the rail. In rank and file the prisoners load onto the Dart Rail with signs stating: “NO INDEFINITE DETENTION” and “TORTURE IS ILLEGAL” as flyers are past out which told the story of “171 men still languish in prison at Guantanamo Bay.” Of this number, 46 are in indefinite detention because the U.S. considers them dangerous but have no evidence. Congressional restrictions have delayed release of thirty-two, and fifty-seven have not even been charged but our government will not release because their country is viewed as unstable.
Moving on through town they past out fliers and reached their destination of a memorial for Martin Luther King where they knelt with hands behind their back, squatting on either side of a wall with the quote, “until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King. It is debated as to whether or not torture as a punishment falls under the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted ” The US Supreme Court has held since at least the 1890s that punishments that involved torture are forbidden under the Eighth Amendment. Torture is illegal and punishable within U.S territorial bounds. Prosecution of abuse occurring on foreign soil, outside of usual U.S. territorial jurisdiction, is difficult. Bill of Rights. For an act to constitute “torture” it must satisfy each of the following five elements in the definition of torture: (1) the act must cause severe physical or mental pain or suffering; (2) the act must be intentionally inflicted; (3) the act must be inflicted for a proscribed purpose;
(4) the act must be inflicted by (or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of) a public official who has custody of the victim; and (5) the act cannot arise from lawful sanctions. Suspected terrorists who were subjected to wall standing, hooding, a constant loud and hissing noise and who were deprived of sleep, food and drink subjected to “inhuman and degrading treatment” but not to “torture.”
RÉDA March 2012
The street theater prisoner held an eight foot black banner stating, “CLOSE GUANTANAMO” in white letters as they walked through the streets of downtown Dallas. Stopping to stand in front of the Federal Building they were met by security informing them it was illegal to take their, [securities], pictures.
In October 2006, the United States enacted the Military Commissions Act of 2006, authorizing the executive to conduct military tribunals of so-called enemy combatants and to hold them indefinitely without judicial review under the terms of habeas corpus. Testimony coerced through humiliating or degrading treatment would be admissible in the tribunals. Amnesty International and numerous commentators have criticized the Act for approving a system that uses torture, destroying the mechanisms for judicial review created by Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, and creating a parallel legal system below international standards. Part of the act was an amendment that retroactively rewrote the War Crimes Act, effectively making policy makers, i.e., politicians and military leaders, and those applying policy, i.e., Central Intelligence Agency interrogators and US Army soldiers, no longer subject to legal prosecution under U.S. law for what, before the amendment, was defined as a war crime, such as torture. Because of that critics describe the MCA as an amnesty law for crimes committed in the “War on Terror”.
RÉDA March 2012
Honoring Ordinary Women Doing the Extraordinary A wonderful Chinese proverb simply declares that “Women Hold Up Half the Sky.” As we enter Women’s History Month and embrace International Women’s Day, I want to put forth the names of three women who I submit to you are deserving of your reflection and remembrance. All three are of African descent and were born enslaved in America. Two of the three managed to become free women and contribute much to the history and fabric of American life. One of those two, Harriet Tubman, is known by many. The other who lived to become free and contribute much is far lesser known, and her name is Sarah Goode. The third is a teenager who died in chains on the gallows right here in Dallas County, and is virtually an unknown, an obscure blip on the pages of Texas history, named Jane Elkins. Harriet Tubman was born in 1820 and died in 1913 at the age of 93. She was born into slavery, and by the age of six began working on a plantation as a nursemaid. Tubman was beaten almost daily by the female head of household when the child Tubman cared for woke up or cried. As an adolescent, Tubman was knocked unconscious by an overseer with a two pound weight. She escaped from slavery, but risked her life time and time again to return, often on foot, to the Deep South. Harriet Tubman became known by many as “Moses” because she returned 13 times to the South to rescue over 70 slaves using the Underground Railroad. Tubman also was a very vocal abolitionist in the fight to end slavery. Sarah E. Goode was the first African American woman to receive a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for inventing the cabinet bed. Goode was born into slavery in 1850 and released from bondage after the
Civil War. She relocated to Chicago and married a carpenter named Archibald Goode. Sarah Goode became an entrepreneur and owned a furniture store in Chicago. Noticing that apartments were usually cramped living quarters, she invented the folding cabinet bed to provide more living space. She conceived the design of what we know today as the "hideaway" bed, describing the design as "a folding bed" whose hinged sections were easily raised or lowered. When not in use as a bed, Goode's invention could also be used as a desk. Today, we know these beds to be “Murphy beds.” Because there’s very little known about Sarah Goode’s life, it’s unclear when she died. Some say around 1905. Jane Elkins, an enslaved 15 year old girl, on May 27, 1853 became the first person legally executed in Dallas County. Elkins was tried and convicted by an all white jury for the first degree murder of a Mr. Wisdom. Wisdom was a widowed white male who had supposedly rented Elkins for the day from her slave owner to take care of his motherless children. Wisdom’s body was found in his home and Elkins was arrested as the murderer. There were no witnesses to the incident, in which Mr. Wisdom allegedly was struck in the head with an ax as he slept. Elkins was not provided legal representation and upon her conviction, when asked if she had anything to say, she said nothing. It is my belief that because of her age, because her side was never presented, and because the circumstances around this incident were never brought forth, Jane Elkins did not have a fair trial. The lives of Harriet Tubman and Sarah Goode are concrete revelations of feminine strength and capacity to successfully overcome overwhelming obstacles and adversity. The life of Jane Elkins is another poignant reminder of the immeasurable costs of dignity; and it is representative of countless women who battled alone and against all odds, and though they may have been humiliated and defeated, nonetheless are forever worthy of our remembrance and homage.
Dallas stands strong for peace against war on Iran By Vostenwald In the midst of a fragile state with war sentiment on the rise, Dallas had great involvement in the February 4, Day of Mass Action to Stop War on Iran. The Dallas Peace Center, CodePINK Greater Dallas, Iranians for Peace, Occupy Dallas, North Texas Veterans for Peace, Pax Christi Dallas, and CodePINK Fort Worth all took part in the Dallas demonstration, demanding NO WAR ON IRAN! With over 150 participants, the program was substantial. It included speakers, music, chants, waving signs and banners, and an incredible amount of honking approval from drivers passing by. Texas House Representative for district 90 Lon Burnam started the program with the understanding that “we are here to oppose war.” Robert Bell, an Iraq war veteran with Veterans for Peace, spoke about the government’s attempt to take advantage of Americans’ opinion on war. Bell called for “No US-Israeli war on Iran, no sanctions, no intervention, and no assassinations!” He asked everyone to take action. “We are not going to let this happen again -- not on our watch,” urged Rich Hancock, host of Rational Radio and Democratic candidate for Texas House District 102. “We are the 99%, and they have to listen,” he said to the cheering crowd. Following Hancock was Leslie Harris with CodePINK and Bijan, an Iranian peace activist with Iranians for Peace. “A war with Iran will be a disaster,” said Bijan. “Say no to the Iranian regime and say no to war. We should put all of our efforts together,” he added. The anti-war effort continued on Tuesday, February 7, as Iranians for Peace and The Dallas Peace Center hosted a conference entitled “No War on Iran & the Consequences,” with Dr. Morteza Mohit. A diverse audience participated, about half of whom were of Iranian descent. Dr. Mohit started by engaging the audience in a brief history of Iran, focusing on its past
RÉDA March 2012
relations with the West and its internal power shifts. Mohit compared the current economic pressure on Iran with similar events that took place in the 1950’s. He said that the U.S. is pushing for regime change as it did in Libya and is doing currently in Syria. He suggested that the Iranian people are not in a position to rise up against the Iranian regime, and that US policies are hurting the Iranian people while helping the government to stabilize itself and withstand all external challenges. The potential war against Iran and recent U.S. actions are inspiring active opposition among the peace and justice community in the Dallas area. Advocacy campaigns and events are expected to continue over the coming weeks, including visits to U.S. senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn. The passionate hearts of Dallas peace activists will continue to thrive as we organize and advocate to stop yet another war. Some may say that odds are against us, but the hope for a better society lies within these active individuals and continues to grow stronger every day.
The Mission of the Dallas Peace Center is to promote a just and peaceful world through constructive action in education, dialogue, reconciliation and advocacy Vision Summary: The Dallas Peace Center envisions: A non-violent world that works for all with justice and respect for the Earth, self and others; a world where our children and future generations can expect to live in a just and peaceful society based on connectedness and compassion.
Value Statement: Dallas Peace Center believes in the power of peace and justice to create a sustainable world. Seeking the transformation of society, we embrace the following values:
Nonviolent Action - which compels us to construct systemic change in conflict by winning over the hearts and minds
Constructive Conflict - a process which provides an opportunity to attend to varied viewpoints, and serves as a mode of truth-finding and community-building
Collaborative Strategies - the desire to join with other organization with similar goals and objectives to build mutual support; generate ideas and alternatives; take collective action and expand resources
Inter-connectedness - the discovery of the many reciprocal connections we have that move us towards a sustainable and just human presence
Compassion and Forgiveness - in words and actions through having awareness of suffering and the desire to relieve it Credits: Front Cover Picture http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_du0MH3PLYjI/TRYqZXXLs2I/ AAAAAAAAEt4/2As3mKe9zXk/s1600/happy-new-year.jpg Page 3 Iraq War Picture: Bottom Right Corner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War
RéDA a publication by The Dallas Peace Center.